The sky is blue and the air is icy cold as I throw a leg over my cross bike. These Saturday morning rides are always my favorite of the week. I don’t have a set destination, let alone a schedule to keep. I’m free to go wherever my camera or my appetite takes me.
As much fun as these rides are, though, in the back of my mind I know they’re perhaps the most dangerous type of riding I do. Because I’m not focused on the destination, I’m riding slower and taking in the sights; letting my eyes wander off the road, scanning the neighborhoods for murals to shoot bikes against or cheap and delicious ethnic foods.
And of course that’s what drivers are doing on a Saturday morning, too. So the odds that they’re looking out for cyclists while they scan the block for a place to park are slim to none.
But these thoughts are merely in the back of my mind, and they quickly vanish with the sighting of an Afghani takout stand. Sadly, it’s closed, and so I’m left to ponder, “Should I try the Turkish place in Shadyside, climb Squirrel Hill for dim sum, head down to the Strip District for pho, ride over to Bloomfield for Thai or maybe venture into Homewood for BBQ?”
En route to the Turkish restaurant I’m distracted by the notion of picking up a bento box at the Japanese
Heading home with my stomach growling, I pick up the pace and split the lane. I trackstand at the light, reminding myself, “Don’t expect any kind of respect for cycling in freezing temperatures.”
Surprisingly, the car across from me beeps and waves for me to take the left in front of him. It goes to show, like life, urban cycling is unpredictable.
Urban Velo issue #23, January 2011. Dead tree print run: 5000 copies. Issue #22 online readership: 55,000+